Sick Kids charity boss ‘unable to ever stand trial’

Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Edinburgh Sheriff Court

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A FORMER Sick Kids hospital fundraising boss will never be able to take part in her fraud trial, Edinburgh Sheriff Court has heard.

Elaine McGonigle, the former director of the New Pyjamas campaign, is accused of claiming £1855 in fraudulent expenses between September 22, 2008, and March 5, 2010.

But the 51-year-old’s trial stalled last year when she suffered a stroke which left her in hospital.

A sheriff was told yesterday that there had been no improvement in her condition, as her defence lawyer called for the trial to be scrapped.

However, prosecutors want their own medical specialists to assess Mrs McGonigle, from Errol, Perthshire.

Fiscal depute Graham Fraser told Sheriff Douglas Allan: “The real concern we have is, is it possible for a patient to manipulate the results of the tests or are the tests capable of manipulation?”

However, defence solicitor Gary Foulis said: “I submit we have now come to the stage in these proceedings where a line has to be drawn

“Mrs McGonigle has suffered a life-changing event. There is clear impairment here.

“The medical profession has said very clearly she will never be able to take part in a trial. This lady is clearly having to get medical treatment to try and give her some quality of life.” 
Sheriff Allan ruled that the Crown could carry out a medical assessment of Mrs McGonigle and ordered another hearing for April 15.

He said: “I don’t think it would be appropriate to deny the Crown the opportunity to make such further checks and assessments.”

Mrs McGonigle was suspended by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation in 2010 amid concerns about the amount of money that was being raised.

She was later charged with having fraudulently claimed for food, travel and accommodation expenses while meeting people in order to raise funds for the charity.

In 2012, Mrs McGonigle pleaded not guilty to fraudulently obtaining £1855.

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